25 Mar Pilates for kids with Karin
Karin Ubbiali is Flex’s Children and Teen Pilates instructor. She has been imparting the wonderful expertise of Joseph Pilates to her young clients for five years now, and loves her job. She believes, “You are never too young to start doing Pilates!”
Pilates is such a valuable resource to incorporate into children’s everyday play activity, athletic training or recreational sports. Joseph Pilates firmly believed that children should practice his method of “Contrology”, which he said led to proper development, health and happiness.
A good time to introduce children to a Pilates program is when they reach five years old. Of course their capacity of attention and ability to take in new information is not yet mature, so class times will be a little shorter and instructors will use creative ways to teach that feel more like a game than exercise.
There are many reasons to start Pilates young. Mr. Pilates argued that habits are easily formed in childhood, both good and bad. If we focus on forming only good habits at a young age there will be less need later in life for correction.
Pilates can help establish correct principles of movement, creating a physical foundation that children will use their entire lives. It helps kids develop a uniform and balanced musculature, where all muscles are trained evenly.
The benefits are many and because Pilates is a low-impact exercise, it delivers its benefits without putting a lot of strain on a child’s growing and developing bones and joints.
It helps children with their overall flexibility, coordination, balance and strength. These are important in reducing the potential for injury and pain, not only at the time, but also going forward as they grow into adulthood.
With older children, as well as noticing improved posture I see increased awareness of the body. Taking a break from spending a large part of their day in front of screens, teens learn what it means to maintain a neutral spine, find length and discover what is good posture, all techniques that can be integrated into everyday life.
Children also learn about their posture and breath, especially the mental connection between the two, helping them grow up with less wear and tear as they go through their activities and life in general.
Pilates teaches kids focused awareness and movement control, helps develop their concentration and coordination, and how to move mindfully.
At Flex we offer a range of Children and Teen classes and throughout all my classes I have noticed that young children gradually become more focused and attentive. By the end of the course, they interact more easily and happily with other kids in the group.
They also use their imagination during the exercises. For example they may say, “I feel taller”, “This feels like when I swim in the swimming pool”, “My legs feel really long!”
Above all, by exploring movement they begin to feel comfortable in their bodies, a gift that will be invaluable to them throughout their childhood and as they grow up.